Buffs Falter In Second Half In Loss To Ducks
EUGENE, Ore. — A stretch of costly turnovers hurt Colorado in the second half Thursday as the Buffaloes dropped a 60-56 decision to Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Buffs fell to 16-7 overall and 10-6 in Pac-12 play while Oregon improved to 13-4, 8-3. It was the second straight loss for CU, the first time this season the Buffs have dropped back-to-back games.
D'Shawn Schwartz led CU with 16 points and 11 rebounds, his third double-double of the season. Jeriah Horne added 11 points and seven rebounds for CU and McKinley Wright IV had 10 points for the Buffs.
Chris Duarte led the Ducks with 18 points.
Colorado finished with 17 turnovers — 11 in a nine-minute stretch in the second half — that led to 22 Oregon points. CU also shot just 34% for the game (21-for-61), including only 6-for-27 from 3-point range. Oregon shot 43% for the game but was 50% from the floor in the second half.
Still, the Buffs had their chances. A free throw from Schwartz tied the game at 53-53 with 2:39 to play, and CU had an open 3-pointer with 1:30 left to play and trailing by just two.
But the shot didn't go in and the Ducks answered with a driving layup on the other end to take a four-point lead with a minute remaining and CU couldn't come closer than three in the final seconds.
"There were two things in this game," CU head coach Tad Boiyle said. "This is not a real difficult one to dissect as a coach. Our inability to take care of the ball and our inability to guard the ball in the second half. We have to have the gumption to step up and get a stop."
But Boyle did find some positives, even in the loss. Despite not shooting well, the Buffs did have a 43-29 rebound edge, including 16 offensive rebounds.
"I love the fight of our team," he said. "If we can have that fight every single night out, we'll win our fair share of games here. We really will."
HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado led by five at intermission, 30-25, and built the cushion to seven early in the half on a pair of Dallas Walton free throws.
But the turnover bug then began to bite the Buffs and the Ducks slowly chipped away at CU's lead. A 9-0 Oregon run midway through the half turned a 43-39 Colorado lead into a 48-43 Ducks lead, with the Buffs committing four turnovers in the run.
"We were rushing for whatever reason," Boyle said. "I thought we got sped up all night long. They were just rushing the ball. We had some veteran guys that just got sped up. We missed some bunnies, but that's going to happen."
The Buffs finally ended the drought with a Keeshawn Barthelemy 3-pointer at the 8:31 mark to cut the deficit to 48-46 and Wright tied the game at 48-48 with a floater from the lane three minutes later.
But the Ducks answered with five points from Duarte sandwiched around a Horne basket to regain the lead before the Buffs tied it again at 53-53 with 2:39 remaining on a Schwartz free throw.
Oregon took the lead again a minute later on two free throws before the Buffs missed a 3-pointer and the Ducks got a Will Richardson layup for a 57-53 lead with a minute to play.
The Ducks then held the Buffs at bay over the final seconds.
"We still had a chance," Boyle said. "We had a great look, down two, great look from three and they come down and we can't stop them. Their players down the stretch made plays."
The Buffs, who entered the game as the Pac-12's second-leading 3-point shooting team, struggled for the second game in a row from long distance. After a 3-for-15 night in a loss to Cal, they hit just six of their 27 tries against Oregon.
"When you've got the threes, you have to be able to step up and knock a few of them down to keep them honest," Boyle said. "But when they take you away at the rim and your post guys can't finish and you can't make threes, you'd better guard your tail off."
Colorado led by as many as eight early in the game and still had a five-point edge at the half, 30-25, despite shooting just 3-for-15 from 3-point range.
The Buffs made up the difference for the poor shooting by collecting seven offensive rebounds and converting them into nine points, along with 10 points off of eight Oregon turnovers.
TURNING POINT: A 9-0 Oregon run in the second half turned a 43-39 CU lead into a 48-43 deficit. While the Buffs did manage to come back and tie the game at a couple junctures down the stretch, they could never regain the lead.
WHAT IT MEANS: The loss drops the Buffs into a tie with Stanford for fourth place in the league standings. With three games remaining in the regular season, CU needs to halt its losing streak Saturday at Oregon State.
KEY STATISTICS: The Buffs committed 17 turnovers, including 11 in a nine-minute span in the second half, with Oregon converting those turnovers into 22 points … Oregon shot 50% from the floor in the second half while the Buffs shot just 31% in the same span … Colorado was outscored 36-22 in the paint.
QUOTEWORTHY: "We're going to get Oregon State's best shot, there's no question in my mind. They're going to be loaded for bear and we better get our hard hats on." — CU head coach Tad Boyle.
NEXT UP: The Buffs wrap up their weekend stay in Oregon with a 6 p.m. game Saturday at Oregon State (ESPNU). They then return home for a pair of games next week, starting with a Thursday contest against USC (7 p.m.), followed by an 8 p.m. matchup Saturday, Feb. 27, with UCLA.